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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Malloy Says It’s Foolish to Believe Trump on Guns

By Ana Radalet

Washington – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today “you’d have to be a fool,” to believe what presidential hopeful Donald Trump says on gun control or any other subject.

This week Trump clarified his position on allowing guns in schools. He had said he supported the elimination of gun free-zones in schools, prompting Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to say Trump wanted to “mandate that every school in America allow guns in the classroom.”

On Monday, Trump said he would only eliminate guns in school zones “in some cases,” and trained teachers and school resource officers should be the ones carrying guns.

At an all-day summit at the White House on gun safety, Malloy took a break to speak to reporters and was asked about Trump’s apparent change in position.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

CT Gets Credit Downgrades From Wall Street

By Keith M.Phaneuf

The new state budget’s ability to mitigate longstanding fiscal problems got poor marks today on Wall Street as two of the four major rating agencies downgraded Connecticut’s credit ranking — probably boosting borrowing costs in the future.

Fitch Ratings Inc. and Standard & Poor’s both lowered their bond ratings in response to the $19.76 billion budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature’s Democratic majority crafted for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The other two firms, Kroll and Moody’s Investors Service, didn’t change their ratings, but did maintain a “negative outlook.” This represents a warning that they intend to monitor state finances closely over the next year, and sometimes is a precursor to a formal downgrade.

“The message from the credit rating agencies couldn’t be any clearer: It is high time for a sustained commitment to fortify the state’s financial footing, in the midst of persistent economic uncertainty,” state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier wrote today in a statement announcing the downgrades.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

P&Z’s Cathy Walsh to Run for State Rep

Westport Planning and Zoning Commission member Catherine Walsh has been tapped by the Republican Town Committee (RTC) to run for state representative for the 136th District, it was announced tonight. Image
Catherine Walsh: will face incumbenent Jonathan Steinberg. Contributed photo

The position is currently held by state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat. He is expected to be nominated for a fourth two-year term next week.

According to the RTC, Walsh was unanimously selected after being nominated by P&Z Chairman Chip Stephens and commissioner Jack Whittle.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Westport Republicans to be a candidate for the Connecticut State Legislature for the 136th District representing Westport,” said Walsh.

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Forum Set on ‘Getting Money Out of Politics’

A Westport Town Hall public forum set for Wednesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. echoes the theme of presidential contenders Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump. Image
Jim Dean: one of participants. Contributed photo

Titled “Getting Money Out of Our Politics: Returning Our Democracy to We the People,” the forum features Jeff Clements, president of American Promise and co-founder of Free Speech People, and Jim Dean, the chair of Democracy for America, a political action committee founded in 2004 by his brother, once presidential hopeful Gov. Howard Dean.

The program is being sponsored by Democracy for Connecticut, the League of Women Voters of Westport, and American Promise.

Event planners say the forum’s focus is on how to restore American democracy, “so that that all voices can be equally heard, not just the powerful, wealthy elite.”

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GOP Gala to Honor Walsh, Tooker, & Towers

At next month’s Republican Town Committee (RTC) gala, the organization will honor three members said to “have gone above and beyond the ordinary” to serve Westport. Image
Honorees: ( l-r) Jennifer Tooker, Catherine Walsh, and Rick Towers. Contributed photos

They are Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) member Catherine Walsh, Board of Finance member Jennifer Tooker, and RTC Treasurer Rick Towers.

The event is set for Friday, June 10, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall.

“We are so proud to honor these dedicated public servants who have donated their time and talents in service to Westport,” said Karen Kleine, a Board of Education member and gala co-chair.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It’s Himes vs. Shaban in 4th CD

By Ana Radelat

Washington – The race to represent Fairfield County in Congress pits a former Rhodes scholar and Wall Street whiz kid against an attorney and former semi-pro football star with roots in local politics in a contest that has so far drawn little notice. Image
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (l) will take on state Rep. John Shaban. Contributed photos

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, the former Rhodes scholar, was swept into office in 2008 with the help of President Obama’s popularity in Fairfield County, defeating Republican Chris Shays and turning Connecticut’s congressional delegation solidly Democratic.

Although Himes, 50, has had a GOP challenger each time he has run, his margin of victory has grown with every contest. In 2014, Himes won with about 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent.

Himes has been able to consolidate his support so well that, for the first time since he sought the 4th District seat, the National Republican Congressional Committee has not targeted the race – at least not yet. The NRCC has, however, targeted his neighbor to the north, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

House Speaker Won’t Seek Re-election

By Mark Pazniokas

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, who oversaw the difficult passage of a state budget Friday on a 74 to 70 vote, said today he will not seek re-election this fall to a ninth term in the General Assembly. Image
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, foreground, and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Sharkey, 54, who had lined up votes for a relatively rare third term as speaker next year, confirmed what multiple sources had told The Mirror earlier: He was planning a formal announcement this week about stepping down at the end of his current two-year term.

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, intends to seek the position.

“If it is true and that announcement comes, I would seek the office of speaker of the House and begin the process of talking to my colleagues about that,” Aresimowicz said.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

House Sends Lean, Overdue CT Budget to Malloy’s Desk

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The House of Representatives brought Connecticut’s latest budget saga to a close late today.

The Democrat-controlled House voted 74-70 to adopt a $19.76 billion budget that closes a nearly $1 billion hole in the 2016-17 fiscal year without raising taxes or tapping Connecticut’s modest emergency reserve. Eight Democrats joined with all 62 Republicans present to oppose the measure. [Among them was Rep. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport.]

But Republican legislators said during the six-hour debate that the budget doesn’t make the kind of structural changes needed to address the state’s long-range fiscal challenges.

The budget measure, which cleared the Senate on Thursday, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign it into law.

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Measure Strips $1B in Bonded Projects off of CT’s Credit Card

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

The Senate voted early today to rebalance Connecticut’s credit card in the face of shrinking tax revenues, canceling or delaying about $1 billion in financing for a wide array of projects and programs.

Outside of this rebalancing process, the bond package for the 2016-17 fiscal year also authorizes $382 million in new borrowing for municipal school construction, down significantly from financing for local schools approved in recent years.

The Senate enacted the measure 34-2. It now heads to the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider the bill Friday.

The cancelations affect capital projects at public colleges and universities, municipal school districts, economic development programs, social services, housing, recreation and the environment, transportation, and numerous state facilities and information technology systems.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Senate Adopts Budget, House Next

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, and Mark Pazniokas

The Senate today adopted a $19.76 billion budget that would eliminate a nearly $1 billion deficit and significantly reduce larger shortfalls after the November state elections.

The plan, which the Democrat-controlled chamber approved 21-15 in a vote along party lines, following a 3-hour-and-15 minute debate. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration on Friday.

The budget avoids tax hikes and scales back promised increases in municipal aid and transportation by $125 million and $50 million, respectively, while cutting funds for employees’ salaries beyond the savings expected from the current round of worker layoffs.

Hospitals, nursing homes and community-based social services all face cuts, though the reductions aren’t as deep as those proposed earlier. The plan also relies on more than $200 million in cuts that haven’t yet been specified, but limits Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s authority to singlehandedly take the money from hospitals, local education funding, or colleges and universities.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wolf to Petition for Senate Primary, Calls GOP Convention ‘Rigged’

By Mark Pazniokas

August Wolf launched a petition drive today to force a Republican primary for U.S. Senate with an angry attack on the GOP delegates who snubbed Wolf’s yearlong campaign Monday and endorsed Rep. Dan Carter, a candidate for five weeks. Image
August Wolf: says he was victimized. photo

Wolf, a Stamford businessman who was a shot-putter at the 1984 Olympics, had cleared the 15-percent threshold necessary for a primary at the convention, when delegates switched to Carter after a call by a third candidate, Jack Orchulli, for party unity.

“At the Olympic games where you are competing, it is fair. Everyone knows the rules. Everyone prepares for the competition. That’s how it was when I was on the Olympic team,” Wolf said. “I discovered two nights ago in Hartford, those rules do not apply, that the whole scheme was rigged. They should have had the convention in a train station, because they railroaded the process.”

But the convention was conducted according to the rules, and it appeared that Wolf was not prepared. Once the roll call was opened to vote switching, as it is at every state nomination convention, Wolf watched from the side, arms folded.

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Legislative Wrap-Up? Not Yet

By James Lomuscio

Today’s Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) event at the Westport Library had been billed as a post session wrap-up with area state legislators. Image
Connecticut’s yet-to-be completed budget was the main topic at today’s session at the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

However, it was far from over since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $20 billion budget with about $1billion in cuts has yet to be passed.

Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) and Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) said that they had to convene in Hartford Thursday for a special session to work on and vote on the budget.

Rep. Johnathan Steinberg (D-136), Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Rep. John Shaban (R-135) said they would have to go back, too, but that it was uncertain when the House of Representatives would meet.

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05/11/16 02:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Establishment Well-represented Among Trump’s CT Delegates

By Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut’s delegation to the Republican National Convention will be a mix of neophytes smitten with the outsider politics of Donald J. Trump, as well as pillars of a GOP establishment still adjusting to him as the party’s presumptive nominee.

The Bush family may be spurning Trump, but one of George W. Bush’s old fundraisers, former Ambassador Charles L. Glazer of Greenwich, is a Trump delegate. So are two former GOP state chairs, Herb Shepardson and Richard Foley. Another, Chris Healy, is an alternate.

“Charlie supported Donald Trump. Everyone on that list supported Donald Trump in different ways,” said Benjamin Proto of Stratford, a longtime GOP activist who helped Justin Clark of West Hartford manage Trump’s campaign in the state.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby, where Trump won 75 percent of the vote in the Connecticut primary last month, is one of five legislators chosen as a delegate or alternate, despite expressing an early preference for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

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Monday, May 09, 2016

CT GOP backs Carter for Senate

By Mark Pazniokas

State Rep. Dan Carter, R-Bethel, a three-term legislator and former military pilot, won the Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate today in a rejection of the yearlong campaign of August Wolf, the businessman and Olympian who was the GOP’s only candidate until last month. Image
Dan Carter accepts the GOP endorsement for U.S. Senate. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Jack Orchulli, the last candidate to jump into the race, conceded defeat after first-round voting was complete and urged delegates to rally behind Carter, allowing the party to focus on defeating the formidable Democratic incumbent, Richard Blumenthal.

“It’s the only way we have a chance to win it,” Orchulli said.

Wolf, who had cleared the 15-percent threshold necessary to automatically qualify for a primary, fell below that mark as delegates heeded Orchulli’s call for unity and switched votes before the ballot was closed. Carter was declared the winner with 907 votes; Wolf had 123 and Orchulli, 20.

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Westporters Support Himes at Nominating Convention Image
The Westport delegation today was among those nominating Jim Himes as the Democratic Party ‘s candidate to represent Connecticut’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives at a convention in Bridgeport. Himes is currently serving his fourth term. In his acceptance speech, Himes highlighted the progress made during the past eight years and had strong words about Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. “Let us be clear that the hate and bigotry and mockery and division of Donald Trump must have no place in American public life, much less in the highest office in the land,” Himes said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

05/09/16 07:07 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Legislators to Tell ‘What’s Happening in Hartford’

Five state legislators from Westport and Weston are set to participate in a post legislative session update at the Westport Library on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the McManus Room.

Titled “What’s Happening in Hartford,” the event is being sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA).

Legislators scheduled to talk and take questions are: Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26); Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28);Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136); Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-135); and Rep. John Shaban (R-135).

The open forum will be moderated by Matthew Mandell. WWCC executive director.

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Saturday, May 07, 2016

Trump Plays Biggest Role at Dem Convention

By Mark Pazniokas

The specter of President Donald J. Trump starred today at the Connecticut Democratic State Convention, a welcome presence to a party with divided presidential loyalties and the challenge of retaining control of the General Assembly in an angry and unsettled political year. Image
Former state Democratic Party chair Nancy DiNardo (l) at the state convention today with Martha Aasen (c), former chair of the Westport Democtatic Town Committee, and Melissa Kane, the current chair. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

More than 1,000 Democrats gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, ostensibly to nominate U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to a second term, but more urgently to begin closing the rift separating backers of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

To no one’s surprise, they believeTrump can help.

Beginning with the mayor of Hartford and ending with Blumenthal, a procession of speakers imagined the billionaire businessman with his hands on nuclear launch codes, making good on threats to deport immigrants, ban Muslims and oppose reproductive rights for women.

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Westport Dems at State Convention Image
Westport delegates to the Democraric State Convention pose for a photo today at the Convention Center in Hartford. Democrats nominated U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal for a second, six-year term but spent much of their time talking instead about the Donald Trump. Blumenthal said of Trump: “We have a critical fight ahead. Republicans will nominate a candidate who will threaten our most fundamental values and rights and liberties as a people and as a nation. … We deserve leaders, not bullies.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Enthusiastic Supporters Image
Westporters Gene Cederbaum and Brett Aronow show their enthusiasm today as they joined other delegates in nominating U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal for a second term at the Democratic State Convention in Hartford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Friday, May 06, 2016

Agency Head: Mosquito-control Funding Cut

By Arielle Levin Becker

Pending cuts to state funding for mosquito control could pose a problem for the agency that monitors the insects for the Zika virus and other diseases, the director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said today.

“It’s really not adequate for us to do what we want to do,” Theodore G. Andreadis said after a press conference with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on the Zika virus.

But Malloy said money necessary for screening and testing mosquitos would be made available, whether in the budget or not.

The budget deal reached this week by the Malloy administration and Democratic legislative leaders would cut funding for mosquito control at Andreadis’ agency from $507,516 to $446,779 for the upcoming fiscal year – a 12 percent decrease. Legislators are expected to vote on the budget during a special session next week.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

CT’s Top Taxpayers Took a Big Earnings Hit Last Year

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Connecticut’s 50 largest state income tax filers reported nearly $3 billion less in quarterly earnings this spring than they did one year ago — which resulted in a $217 million hit to the state’s coffers, the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal staff reported today.

That drop represents a 30 percent plunge in earnings, a trend that sparked fierce debate within the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee as members approved a revenue schedule for next fiscal year’s state budget.

“If we’re losing $3 billion (in adjusted gross income) the impact is going to be across the whole budget,” said Sen. Stephen T. Cassano, D-Manchester, who first questioned nonpartisan analysts about the revenue trend.

Connecticut’s income tax, which provides nearly half of the revenue needed to support the annual budget, gets about 60 percent of its receipts from paycheck withholding and about 40 percent from quarterly filings.

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Dems Abandon Plan to Adopt Budget in Regular Session

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Majority Democrats in the House of Representatives conceded late today that they would not adopt a new state budget before the legislature’s mandatory midnight adjournment deadline.

In a joint statement, House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, both said it would be unfair to force a vote in the session’s waning hours.

“As a matter of democracy and fairness to all the members of the House, it is not possible to do a budget this evening,” the House Democratic leaders said.

“The time it took to reach an agreement, combined with the challenge of staff to physically get a printed bill to the floor, and then achieve passage, would likely require a cutoff of discussions. That scenario would not be fair for the purpose of allowing a complete and reasonable debate, and at this point would be a disservice to House members and the public they represent to move forward tonight.”

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Democrats, Governor Strike Budget Deal

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

Democratic legislators ended a tense day of negotiations today by announcing a deal on a new state budget that the General Assembly will race to adopt Wednesday before the constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight.

Passage will require the cooperation of the Republican minority, an uncertain prospect after House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, exchanged insults outside the Capitol press room.

Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, largely glossed over the spending cuts necessary to balance the budget, focusing instead of positive aspects: No tax increases, more money for transportation funding and revenue-sharing with towns, albeit at lesser amounts than originally planned. It also avoids tapping Connecticut’s emergency reserve.

Each said they have votes for passage in the House and Senate.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

CT Budget Talks Remain Gridlocked

By Keith M. Phaneuf

State budget talks continued to stall today as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration and Democratic legislative leaders remained at odds over how to resolve a nearly $1 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Image
House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey’s tweet on the final Saturday of the legislative session captured the mood between his caucus and the governor. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

And though talks — which bogged down late Friday — remained in limbo, Democratic legislative leaders insisted they are ready to resume talks with the governor at any time.

Still, both sides in the standoff concede time is running short as the General Assembly nears its constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight on Wednesday.

“We are absolutely still ready to talk,” Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, said around 3 p.m. today. “We’ve said we will go over the budget line by line.”

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Tesla Sales Ban in Connecticut Stands

By Mark Pazniokas

The effort by Tesla to win legislative approval to directly sell its electric cars to consumers in Connecticut has failed for the second consecutive year in the face of opposition from car dealers and competing manufacturers, a Senate leader said early today.

“I think the car dealers and others have been very effective in lobbying in their favor,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, the sponsor of this year’s Tesla bill, told the Connecticut Mirror. “We’ll come back again and try in another year.”

A similar bill passed the House last year, but never came to a vote in the Senate. Duff signing on as lead sponsor this year gave Tesla an influential ally in the upper chamber, but Duff told The Mirror his caucus was divided.

“I didn’t go into this to twist arms to pass it that way,” Duff said. “My job is to protect the caucus and the interests of the state.”

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Malloy Says Budget Talks Have Hit the Wall

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

A somber Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared late tonight that budget negotiations with legislators “are hitting a wall,” and he predicted the General Assembly would adjourn Wednesday without adopting a budget he could sign, thereby failing to avert a nearly $1 billion deficit. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy assesses the state of budget negotiations tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

And unlike recent statements when the governor warned he would force lawmakers into special session indefinitely until they agreed to cut spending, Malloy struck a more uncertain tone about Connecticut’s fiscal future.

“Unless something changes dramatically in the next few hours, I supposed what I’m saying is I don’t think we can get to a negotiated settlement” on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, the governor told reporters in his Capitol office.

“In which case,” Malloy continued, “folks can either decide to come back to the table or take whatever steps they need to take.”

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CT: Trump Wins Big, Clinton Narrowly

By Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut today propelled Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton closer to their parties’ presidential nominations, with Trump winning a landslide and Clinton holding off a tenacious Bernie Sanders. Image

Trump won in all five primaries today along I-95: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Clinton lost only Rhode Island. Connecticut was the last state placed in her column, a win declared around 10:30 p.m. by the Associated Press and most networks.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” Trump said in televised remarks from New York City.

Rep. Tony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, one of the few elected officials here to endorse Trump, said it was time for other Republican officials to shake off their reservations about the brash billionaire, who has belittled foes, demonized Muslims and undocumented immigrants, and accused GOP leaders of trying to rig what may yet be a contested convention in Cleveland.

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Clinton, Kasich Win in Westport

2016 Democratic Primary Results
2016 Republican Primary Results

UPDATE While Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald J. Trump swept Connecticut in today’s presidential primaries, Republican John R. Kasich bested Trump in Westport by 1,098 to 1,053, according to results released by the Town Clerk’s office tonight. Image
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich addresses a crowd in Glastonbury High School on Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kyle Constable for

According to Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, 60.8 percent of the town’s 7,577 registered Democrats and 52.3 percent of Westport’s 5,583 registered Republicans voted today.

Clinton bested rival Bernie Sanders by more than double, 2,661 to 1,087 (70.3 percent to 28.7 percent), while Republican Kasich, who has remained in third place nationally, beat Republican front runner Trump by 45 votes.—46.15 percent (1,098) to Trump’s 44.26 percent (1,053).

Republican Ted Cruz received only 165 votes here. Ben Carson, whose name was on the ballot even though he is no longer in the race received 11 votes, and 50 Westport Republican voters checked that they were uncommitted.

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State to Post Primary Results ‘in Real Time’

When will supporters know how well Bernie, Hillary Trump, Kasich and Cruz—or Ben Carson, for that matter, since his name appeared on the Republican ballot—did in Westport and all of Connecticut today?

Once the polls close at 8 tonight and a soon as the numbers are tabulated, Westport’s—and the state’s—results will be available in real time from moderator tapes at

According to Deputy Town Clerk Ruth Cavayero, Westport in one of a handful of Connecticut municipalities participating in the primary posting as a prelude to the November presidential elections.

“We’re doing something new this year, and the numbers will be posted to a statewide website, a new statewide database that’s in real time as soon as the numbers become available,” Cavayero said.

04/26/16 07:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Voter Turnout Hits 40 Percent by 7 P.M.

UPDATE As of 7 p.m. today, 5,298 of Westport’s 13,160 registered Democrats and Republicans—about 40 percent—turned out to vote at the town’s five polling places, the Registrar of Voters office said. Image
Voters today at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The Registrar of Voters office had predicted that the numbers would increase after 5 p.m. since parking spaces would be freed up at four of the polling places, which are schools that were in session today. The polls close at 8 p.m.

Only registered Democrats and Republicans, not unaffiliated voters, can cast ballots in today’s primary since Connecticut is a closed presidential primary state.

Of Westport’s more than 16,000 registered voters, there are 7,577 registered Democrats and 5,583 Republicans, said Marla Cowden, Democratic Registrar of Voters.

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